OK, Melanie, tell us a bit about how you got started on this venture and what keeps you motivated.
What led you to start creating your art/craft?
Well, everything started when I first started making candles about 8 years ago. I loved to burn them, but they were too expensive, and I was never happy with the way they smelled or burned. So I started to learn candlemaking, and joined several helpful forums. Many of the girls over there made soap as well, and I became interested. I spent months reading over thier notes and gathering as much information on it as I could. Finally I got up the nerve to make my first batch. I used ingredients I had bought from the grocery store, and poured it into a baby wipe container. From there I was hooked. I quickly over ran my house, my friends and my family with bars of soap. My confidence grew and I knew it was time to start selling. Four years later, soap, candles and bathbombs are my full time job. Even thousands of bars later, I still get excited everytime I remove a fresh log of soap from the mold.
How did you decide what medium you wanted to work with?
Well most of my soaps are made from Olive, Coconut, Palm, Palm Kernal and Soybean oil. I chose these because it creates a lasting bar of soap that lathers wonderfully, and leaves your skin feeling soft and clean. For my bathbombs, I spend a lot of time playing with the oil combination. I hated soaking in the tub, then stepping out only to feel greasy. I finally started adding Shea butter to the bombs, and Wow what a difference. I love it because it leaves you so soft and the greasy feeling is gone. Usually once someone tries a bomb, their hooked.
If you had to choose a fruit OR a vegetable, to describe your art/craft, what would you choose, and why?
An orange, pretty to look at or display in a nice dish. Smells wonderful. A little challenging to get into at times, but the end result is so worth it.
If you had to choose one other medium in which to display your “creativity”, what would that be, and why?
I love working with fabrics and wools. My grandmother taught me sewing, knitting, crochet and counted cross stitch. Whenever I'm at my machine, or stitching away I still feel close to her even though she is gone. I also find these crafts relaxing. It's a nice way to take a time out after the kids are in bed.
What message, if any, do you want to convey with your art/craft?
I don't really know if my soaps or bombs have a message. I love watching people pick them up, admire them, smell them. I like knowing that they are going to enjoy using what I make.
What advice do you have for other artists/crafters?
Stick with it. Even if your craft seems challenging at times, even if things don't seem to be going right, you'll never get any better if you just walk away. If your looking to turn your craft into a business, it can be challanging at times. Learning the ins and outs of running a business can be harder to learn then the craft itself (and not nearly as fun), but I love being able to spend my day creating, I love working with customers, and I love the fact that it gives me the freedom to be so involved in my kids lives.
Melanie, thanks so much for taking the time to share your thoughts and ideas with us. Great interview. Be sure to visit GREENFIELD SOAPS to see what other flavors and products that Melanie creates.